All eyes will be on the Senate Hart Building’s Room 216 today at 10 a.m. when former FBI Director James Comey testifies about his conversations with President Trump. It’s the climax of a simmering dispute between the two men and the first time that Comey has spoken in public since being unceremoniously fired by the president almost a month ago amid an investigation into possible links between Russia and Trump campaign officials.
It could also be the most highly anticipated Congressional hearing in history, surpassing even the Iran-Contra hearing in 1987 and the Watergate hearing in 1973. (Already bars from D.C. to San Francisco are opening early to handle crowds who want to wash down the drama with a few drinks.)
The release of Comey’s prepared remarks just added to the drama. Trump’s critics are declaring that they confirm recent reports that Comey was pressured by Trump to drop the FBI probe into former national security adviser Gen. Michael T. Flynn. Meanwhile, the White House is focusing on how Comey’s remarks validate Trump’s claims that he was not personally under investigation. The most revealing parts of Comey’s historic appearance will be his answers to questions posed by members of the committee. The Russia and related investigations will likely carry on for many months, but Comey’s answers could shed more light on some details and spark new lines of inquiry.
Here are nine questions we think Comey should be asked:
• Do you think that President Trump meant to obstruct your investigation into alleged links between Russia and his campaign?
• Do you consider that obstruction of justice?
• Do you think that the Trump campaign or any of its advisers colluded with Russia to disrupt the U.S. presidential election? If so, how did they collude with Russia?
• When you left the FBI, was the president a target of any FBI investigation? Were any members of the White House staff the target of any FBI investigation? Was any member of the president’s family a target or a person of interest in any FBI investigation?
• When you left the FBI, did you inform the attorney general or deputy attorney general of the status of these investigations?
• Do you stand by your testimony given during previous hearings about the 2016 election and investigations related the election—or would you like to revise some of your previous responses?
• Are you going to give this committee all of your memos and notes on your conversations with President Trump, White House staffers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sally Yates, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
• Have you authorized anyone to look over your notes and to share them with media outlets?
• Have you been contacted by any White House staffers since leaving the FBI?